Taking the "U" out of Kuznets: A comprehensive analysis of the EKC and environmental degradation
Unlike most Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) studies which focus on narrow measures of pollution as proxies for environmental quality, we test the validity of the EKC using the Ecological Footprint (EF), a more comprehensive measure of environmental degradation. We find no empirical evidence of an EKC relationship between the EF and economic development, and only limited support for such a relationship among the components of the EF. In addition, we discover that energy is largely responsible for the lack of an EKC relationship, and that energy consumption levels would have to be cut by over 50% in order for a statistically significant EKC relationship to emerge from the data. Overall, these results suggest that growth alone will not lead to sustainable development.
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